Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Angel's Embrace Chapter 38

I pulled cases of sodas out of the back of my car and carried them around to the back deck of the Forks house. Flashbacks of the same type of meeting we were about to have flew through my mind. I had sat on that very deck the night that Victoria had come for me. It was the night that changed everything, including myself.
My family had worked smoothly with the pack and a repentant Jacob. But Victoria was cunning and got to me anyway. She had tried to shatter my human body against the rocks of the cave she brought me to after she kidnapped me. The last thing I remembered from that night was telling Edward how much it hurt.
"Bella," Edward said from behind me, his face unreadable except for the slight darkening of his eyes. Not in lust, but fury.
"Sorry," I mumbled, turning to go back to the garage.
"Love, wait," he said, catching me just outside the garage entrance. "It's just that," he sighed, running a hand through his hair, "that night was the worst in my long existence. I thought I'd lost you, baby," he whispered, wrapping his arms around me, "and I'd rather you didn't think this could turn out the same way."
"I know," I sighed, my forehead hitting his chest. I snaked my arms around his waist and inhaled the only scent on the planet that could calm me down. And as usual, it worked. "Come on," I smiled against his shirt, smacking his ass, "help me with this stuff for the pack. They'll be hungry. They always are," I snickered, pulling back to look up at my very worried husband.
"Yes, ma'am," he nodded with just barely the hint of a smile on his face.
"You know," I sighed, pulling more bags and sodas out of the trunk and handing it to him, "I read one of the journals I took from here," I smiled, looking up at him and grabbing my own load.
"Did you, now?" He smirked. "And what decade was it from?"
"Seventies," I laughed.
"Shit," he breathed, shaking his head and huffing a light laugh. He set everything down on the table, leaning a hip against it. "Don't tell Alice," he begged.
"Would I do that?" I laughed, feigning shock. "Your lack of faith in me is disturbing. But I did find your rant on fashions to be, um, quite interesting."
"Bella," he warned, but a smile played on his face.
"Alice should know why she shopped for you," I snorted, backing away as he stalked towards me.
"I don't think so," he growled, "you shop for me."
"I shop for you, because I know what I want you in."
"Come on," he snorted, "you can't possibly look back at that time and not see it." He growled, shaking his head. I was still backing away from his stalking form, trying my damnedest not to laugh. "And I was in a different place mentally," he tapped his head.
"I'd say," I teased, biting my lip. "You compared the entire planet in the seventies to Sodom and Gamorrah."
He laughed, shaking his head and pinching the bridge of his nose. "That's what I get for studying theology at the time."
"You studied the Bible during the decade of freedom and sex?" I laughed, my head falling back. "During the most drug induced ten years just outside the cocaine riddled eighties?"
"Bella," he growled, but I heard the laugh come out of him. My distraction was working.
"Prude," I teased, squealing and squirming when he launched himself at me. He picked me up in his arms, tickling me like mad.
"Not. Anymore." He snarled into my neck, leaving a biting kiss just behind my ear. I giggled, nodding against him.
"That's because I turned you into a sex addict," I laughed
"You did," he laughed, placing a sweet kiss on my forehead before setting me on my feet.
"Did you really hate the fashions then?"
"Alice has already told you that," he chuckled. "It was just so dirty and revealing. Hippies didn't shower or shave. Humans never smelled so bad." I laughed, shaking my head and going back to the deck to finish setting up.
It wasn't long before everyone started to show up. I found myself leaning against the wall of the house behind them all. I watched as Carlisle and Marcus explained how and where Felix would come in. They had a map of the state of Washington, showing us all where to be.
"Bella, Edward," Marcus sighed, "I want you with a member of the pack here," he pointed on the map, "on this ridge. Bells, you can shield everyone at that point. We'll lead a trail with my scent to the clearing below."
"I'll be with you," Seth smiled from across the deck. I nodded, thinking we had done this before. My step brother and I made a good team.
"Edward," Carlisle said, turning to my pacing husband, "you'll have to stay in constant contact through Seth and Alice."
"I don't know if that works," Alice frowned. "Edward, make a decision...anything." Edward stopped mid-stride, glancing up at me and then back to Alice.
"Barely," she shook her head. "It'll be touchy at best."
"What if you shielded her against the wolves?" Jasper asked and I nodded, wrapping my shield carefully around Edward and Alice.
"Crystal clear," she sighed. "But we can't do that."
"No, we can't," I frowned. "We can't shield them out, because Edward will need to hear them. And I can't leave them unprotected either."
"What if you left Seth in your shield but the rest out?" Jasper asked, looking at me.
"I would need more than one of you in wolf form to test that theory," I sighed, looking to Seth and Jake. They both nodded, running to the side of the house and trotting back on four legs. Marcus' eyes were huge once he saw them for the first time.
Jake stood to the side and Seth came to stand by me. I wrapped my shield around Seth, Edward and Alice. "Edward, can you hear Jake?" I asked, looking over at him.
"Yes," he nodded. "Alice?"
"It's still hazy," she frowned.
"Damn," I sighed. "Alice, I'll have to remove Seth every now and then for Edward to check in. Ok?" She nodded and then shook her head as if to clear it.
"That will work," Edward nodded. Seth and Jake walked back around the corner to change back.
Jasper stepped up next to discuss the killing of newborns. "Don't let them get their arms around you. Their strength is overwhelming. However, the ones we are up against will be trained in combat and will pose a bigger threat to us. Not to mention the new powers among them. Brandon," he pointed. "You have to shut down as many as possible. I'm wondering if he shouldn't be with Bella," he turned, looking at Marcus and Carlisle.
"With Edward or not?" Carlisle frowned.
I huffed a sigh, folding my arms across my chest. I did not want to be separated from Edward during this shit. No fucking way! I thought to him, practically shaking with fury.
"Carlisle," Edward frowned, sending a quick glance my way, "Bella is going to need to hear what's going on in the clearing. She'll be away from everyone and can't exactly communicate with Seth."
"Fine," Carlisle nodded. "Brandon, start with Edward and Bella. If we feel you're needed, we'll send word." Brandon nodded, Edward sighed and I relaxed. To have watched Edward fight too far away from me would have rendered me completely useless.
Charlie stood up, looking to Carlisle. "We'll give it two more weeks and I will start the curfew. It'll take one more week to stop the hikers and campers. I'll post the bear warning as soon as I get back to my office. What are we doing about the reservation? Every wife and child will be there."
"It will be covered, Charlie," Jake sighed, folding his arms across his chest. "We're leaving three young members of the pack behind to patrol the boundaries. We'll be able to hear them if something gets through."
"Good," he sighed, sitting back down.
And that was the way the meeting continued to go until everyone knew where they were supposed to be and what to expect. The Denalis took Marcus back up to Alaska to get ready to leave. We were all aware we might have to disappear if the fight didn't go well.
"Family meeting," Carlisle frowned, "inside." We settled all around him, Edward and I on the loveseat. "We have to make a decision. If this doesn't go well, we may have to make our move to Europe early." He paused, looking at each one of us as we nodded in agreement. "If we win, we'll meet back at the Portland house and go from there. We can stay or move on; our decision won't need to be hastily made if we come out on top."
"If we get separated from each other," Carlisle sighed, leaning back almost in a weary way, "then let a few weeks go by before making contact."
"Name changes," Emmett nodded. "You know what to look for. I haven't used McCarty for awhile."
"Yes," Edward nodded, "we'll be under Masen, Carlisle. Bella and I will head straight to London, if everything falls apart. I've had the identifications already made for some time now. We'll try to set things up before you guys get there, but that's only if we lose." I looked over at him, my brow wrinkling. He picked my hand up with a sigh, kissing it softly.
Carlisle nodded, wrapping an arm around a fidgeting Esme. I could see the toll it was taking on her. Not only was it possible for her to lose some of her family, but to go without contact would be a nightmare for her.
"I know you all want to make your own contingency plans, but give me a moment," Carlisle said, sitting up, but resting his elbows on his knees. "I want to be positive about this, because my faith in all of you is unwavering. But I have to be a realist as well. It is possible that something could go wrong." His eyes locked with Edward's for a brief moment and my husband nodded, his grip on my hand tightening. "I would prefer to see you all before we split to the four winds, but I know that might not be possible. I just want you to know, that as my family, I can't think of anyone else I'd rather go into battle with than the people I see in front of me right now. You're my children, my guardians, my secret keepers," he shook his head, his voice choking on emotion. Esme was a mess and it was time to leave our parents for a moment to themselves.
"Come on, love," Edward said, his face serious. "Let's get out of here for a moment." I nodded, took his hand and followed him outside. "Let's go to our meadow," he sighed.
We raced to the meadow, Edward winning, of course. But not even that could bring a smile to his face. I looked around the space we claimed as ours, seeing the dryness of winter with touches of spring trying to break through. I sighed, feeling a level of comfort that only this small spot could bring.
"Plan B, Bella," Edward growled, pacing back and forth. "If we are separated, you shield yourself only and come right here." He pointed to the ground. "I will be here, I swear it."
"You can't promise me that, Edward."
"I can," he snarled. "I made you a promise. I plan on fucking keeping it."
"Edward, stop," I begged, gripping him by the front of his shirt. "You're not thinking rational. You're letting emotion override it."
"I know," he said, his voice choking with emotion, "I just can't lose you." His brow wrinkled as he reached for me.
"Let's sit," I sighed, tugging him down to the clearing floor. "We've always talked everything out in this spot. We can do it this time." He nodded, not releasing his grip on me, but sitting down in front of me. "Look at me," I breathed, trying to keep my own emotions under control. "If we get separated, and we both know the other is ok," I said, my eyebrow raised. We both knew that if something happened, that the pain in our chests would be unbearable. "Then we'll plan to meet here. Ok?" He nodded, his face dark with emotional torture. "You can hear my mind for miles, sweetheart, so I will leave it open as much as I can."
"You have to," he begged. "I need to hear you, to know you're ok."
"Ok," I nodded. "Our Plan B?"
Edward took a deep breath, tension rolling off of him in waves. "You and I, we'll go underground if the family has to separate. I've already made our identities, set up accounts, and there's even a car in storage," he frowned, picking up my hands and kissing each finger. "We'll make our way to Toronto, only to fly out to France," he said, looking up at me, but his lips rested on my fingers. "From there, we'll go to London," he paused, "we'll open up the Cullen house there and wait for the others," he sighed.
"Mr. and Mrs. Masen?" I asked. It was an honest question, but a sudden look of pride flashed across Edward's face.
"Yes," he nodded. "I haven't used that name in Europe, so it should be safe."
"Ok," I smiled, glad he had relaxed for the moment.
"And it's doctor," he smirked.
"Yes, sir," I teased. "Ok," I nodded, "Plan B." I sighed and looked around us, suddenly needing to be as close to Edward as possible.
"Come here, baby," he sighed, pulling me to his lap. I buried my face in his neck, letting the emotions of the day take over. "I love you so very much," he whispered against my cheek. All I could do was nod.
"Are we going back to school?" I asked after a very long time of just sitting quietly in Edward's arms.
"No," he shook his head. "No, we'll have Carlisle give them a notice. Family emergency or something." I nodded, pulling back to look at him.
"Even if everything turns out ok?"
"I don't think so," he sighed. "Are you ok with that?" He asked, making sure I looked him in the eye when I nodded.
"Then there's something I want to do," I frowned, picking up his hand and tugging his wedding band off, only to put it on the correct finger. I reached up and took the necklace from around my neck. "Put this thing back where it belongs," I ordered, handing him his mother's ring.
He fought his smile, but lost, chuckling as he slipped my wedding ring back on my left hand. He picked it up, kissing it softly and leaving his lips there. A deep shuddering breath escaped me and I laid my head back on his shoulder.
We spent hours in our meadow. We went over the plans, training and the meeting. We made love several times in the place we loved most. As we stared up at the unusually clear night sky, I snorted into a giggle. I could see every star in the sky until Edward loomed over me.
"What's funny?" He smirked.
"It's not funny, just fitting," I sighed, caressing his face. "That this place of all places would become our safe haven if something goes wrong."
"Come on, sweet girl," he smiled, handing me my clothes. "They'll wonder if we ran away."
"I'm quite sure that we weren't the only ones to escape, Edward," I laughed, tugging my jeans on.
"Yes, but you are the one that Carlisle is worried most about."
"I saw that look. What's his concern?"
"He wants you as calm as possible. He wants to make sure that you don't lose control or break down if something goes wrong."
"You mean if something happens to you?" I asked and he nodded. "I cannot promise that I won't be a mess. I'll beg for death if something happens to you."
"Me as well," Edward nodded, reaching for me and wrapping me in his arms. He choked back a sob as he buried his nose in my hair. "Let's go home."
We were hard at work for the next several weeks. Jake and the pack were busy making sure the citizens of Forks saw large wolves roaming the town. My family and I were frantically trying to make arrangements with the Portland house, just in case we had to walk away from it the night of the battle. With our high strung emotions and all the uncertainty hanging over our heads, we were starting to get a bit punchy.
"Emmett, I don't want to play," I growled. I had been holed up in our room the whole day. Edward was with Jake and Carlisle, scoping out the area they thought Felix would land. I sat on the floor in front of the floor to ceiling windows, listening to music and answering emails from friends back in Portland. It was hard enough lying to them, but we had to tell them we had an emergency in Alaska and weren't sure if we'd be back. Wendy was the most devastated. It broke my heart. I understood why my family chose to sit back and not get attached after so many years of continually moving on.
"Come on, Bells," Emmett begged, "I hooked up the router and everything. Shoot some Nazis with me."
"Please, Em," I whined, not even bothering to open the door.
"Fine," he sighed in defeat, walking away and mumbling to himself.
The next thing I knew, Jasper was sitting next to me. "That's an emotion I didn't think I'd ever feel from you," he noted, "guilt."
"I'm sorry I don't want to play with him."
"The guilt was here before Emmett came knocking," he frowned, tilting his head at me. "You feel like we shouldn't have gotten close to the Portland kids."
"Yeah," I sighed, leaning back against the wall and staring out into the woods.
"You can stay in touch for awhile. I know Wendy is important to you."
"I know," I frowned. "I just feel so...unsure about everything. I know why you guys used to be so standoffish now."
"Yeah, we were jerks," he laughed. "It's ok to make friends, Bells. We were set in our ways and we weren't happy with our lot in our very long lives. Only Alice truly wanted to be involved with humans, but she never pushed. You've changed all of that for the better."
"I guess," I sighed.
Jasper studied my face, but I stayed quiet. Soft classical music filled the silence of the room. He pulled out his phone, dialing quickly. "Eddie," my brother sighed. "We have to get out of town for the night. Get home."
"What's wrong?" Edward asked, and I sighed in relief at just the sound of his voice. He was farther away than I expected and my chest had been aching most of the morning.
"Too much bullshit, brother," Jasper chuckled. "The house is a tension filled mess. Let's go play. Just one night to forget some things," he said, raising his eyebrow at me. "I'm sitting with Bells right now, discussing what songs she wants you to play."
I snorted, shaking my head. "Unbelievable," I murmured.
"She sounds thrilled, Jazz," Edward chuckled on the other end. "I still have my own choice of song, that leaves her two of her own. Don't let her pout her way out of it."
"Jackasses," I snorted, folding my arms across my chest. They both laughed at me. "Fine," I sighed, ruffling Jasper's hair before disappearing into the bathroom to get ready.
When I stepped out of the shower, Alice was waiting for me. "They want to know your songs," she smirked, "they ran home to load the instruments."
"What do you think?" I asked as she sat on the edge of the bed. She watched me dress as if it was a rock club.
"I think you should be prepared for Edward's song," she sighed, raising her eyebrow at me. "And I think you should pick one for him and the other one just for shits and giggles."
"Ok," I rolled my eyes, "that's so not helpful."
"Well, you've been flip-flopping between two songs and I think you should go with the one he played at your bachelorette party."
"Yeah," I nodded. I had been considering that one. "And the fun one?"
"Power of Love," Rose poked her head in. "You know, Huey Lewis?"
"Ok," I nodded, shaking my head as Alice quickly texted them to let them know.
"To what degree of an emotional wreck will I be when Edward sings his song?" I asked Alice as we sat down at the front table of the bar. The boys had called, telling us when to meet them and where. They wanted to meet at the same club as last time in Olympia.
"Um," Alice hedged, looking everywhere but my way, "enough that I told him to make it the last song."
"Oh Lord," Rose sighed, placing a hand on my arm. "If it's the song I heard them practice last, you'll rush the stage."
"Um," I laughed, smacking my hand down on the wood, "stage. No rushing needed." They both laughed. "Edward only insists on a song when he has something to say."
"Well, he definitely is determined to say it," Alice snorted. She paused for a moment, her face flickering a bit of sadness. "With all that we're about to face, he's determined to rid himself of every ghost."
"He doesn't need to," I whispered, but my sisters heard me anyway.
"This is Edward we're talking about," Rose smirked, "so just humor him until he can get it out of his system."
Lights went down and the curtain lifted. Our boys were first. Emmett took his place behind his drum kit, which had grown substantially, and Jasper picked up a bass guitar. Edward strode out wearing dark jeans and a black t-shirt with a long sleeve gray shirt underneath. He pushed his sleeves up to his elbow just before he picked up his acoustic guitar. I smiled and shook my head at him as he took a seat at the edge of the stage, letting his legs hang over the side.
He began Everything by Lifehouse, softly playing and occasionally looking up at me through his long eyelashes. My bachelorette party came flying back to me. He smirked, glancing up at me once with a wink as he read my thoughts. When the song was over, he mouthed, "I love you," standing up and setting his guitar on his stand.
Jasper traded out his bass for an electric and Edward took his place behind the keyboards. With a shake of his head, a deep breath, and a smile, Edward started Power of Love. The club exploded. How could you not like that song? The words were true, the music extremely fun.
Emmett nodded, laughing as they played the song. It didn't help that Em adored the movie Back to the Future. Edward took lead on vocals.
The power of love is a curious thing
make a one man weep, make another man sing.
Change a hawk to a little white dove
more than a feeling that's the power of love
Tougher than diamonds, rich like cream
Stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream
make a bad one good make a wrong one right
power of love that keeps you home at night
You don't need money, don't take fame
Don't need no credit card to ride this train
It's strong and it's sudden and it's cruel sometimes
but it might just save your life
With that line, Edward smiled and winked again.
That's the power of love That's the power of love
Jasper's guitar solo was perfect as he walked the length of the stage. When it came to the end of the song, he and Edward harmonized perfectly, Emmett joining them. I braced myself for the next song. Emmett looked excited, but Jasper looked at me almost apologetically. Edward stepped from behind the keyboards, picking up the first guitar I ever gave him and slinging it over his shoulder. Jasper traded his out once again for the bass.
Just as Edward stepped up to the mic, the girls next to us, who I hadn't even given a second look to, cheered and whistled. They were a touch on the drunk side, because a curly headed brunette yelled, "Will you marry me?"
I thought Rose would fall out of her chair. I couldn't help but laugh.
"Sorry, I am married," Edward chuckled, Jasper and Emmett snorting into hysterics. "And this next song is for my wife. Maybe one day I can forgive myself for my mistakes. I was miserable without you, sweetheart."
I gasped, shaking my head as he smiled sheepishly my way. Emmett started with a drum roll and Edward strummed a loud note, singing a song I had never heard them play before – Angel by Aerosmith.
I'm alone
Yeah, I don't know if I can face the night
I'm in tears and the cryin' that I do is for you
I want your love - Let's break the walls between us
Don't make it tough - I'll put away my pride
Enough's enough I've suffered and I've seen the light
There was nothing I could do about the sob that escaped me. I could barely look at the stage as Edward and Jasper shared a mike to harmonize.You're the reason I live
You're the reason I die
You're the reason I give
When I break down and cry
Don't need no reason why
You're my angel
Come and save me tonight
You're my angel
Come and make it all right
Don't know what I'm gonna do
About this feeling inside
Yes it's true - Loneliness took me for a ride
Without your love - I'm nothing but a beggar
Without your love - a dog without a bone
What can I do I'm sleeping in this bed alone
Come and save me tonight
I shifted on my stool, but Alice and Rose grabbed me. I was pretty sure that Alice could see me about to bolt out of the club. I needed air. I needed Edward, but I needed to get out of there before I lost it and caused a scene.
You're my angel
Come and save me tonight
you're my angel
Come and take me alright
Come and save me tonight,
"Go," Alice whispered, "he'll meet you outside."
I nodded, pulling my hair away from my face as my breathing hitched. I shot up out of my seat, hitting the door and turning down the closest alley. For the first time in years, I wished I could cry, because tears would have been coursing down my face and they would have been a release. I leaned against the brick wall of the building next door, trying to get my breathing under control.
I heard the side door slam open and I looked up to see Edward walking towards me. I pushed away from the wall, rushing into his arms. "I'm sorry," he breathed, burying his face in my neck.
"I don't want to hear it, Edward," I sobbed, "just kiss me." He lifted me completely and I wrapped my legs around his waist. I found myself pressed into the wall behind me, the bricks cracking. Edward slammed his hands against the wall on each side of my head, his palms making an imprint into the side of the building as he leaned into me. One of my hands gripped his hair, the other pulling his shoulder in closer. I'm sure we could be heard around the corner, but I couldn't find it in me to care.
I turned my head, deepening the kiss, swirling my tongue with Edward's as we both took ragged and uneven breaths. He groaned, deep and sexy, trailing kisses down my neck. "Why? What were you thinking?" I cried, nuzzling the crook of his neck. "Do you want me to melt, Edward?"
"No," he growled into the soft spot behind my ear. "I've been wanting to tell you that forever, love. I just..." His tongue snaked out, gliding up my neck and into my ear. "I'll never leave again. No matter what happens in the future, understand?" He pulled his face back, but his hips pressed into mine, causing my breath to catch and my hands to tighten.
I nodded fervently, unable to take my eyes away from his face. He was desperate for me to understand, to have faith in him.
"I really need you," I panted, rolling my hips against him. "Please," I begged.
"We can't stay out," I whined, "Carlisle said come straight home."
With a glance around us, Edward nodded, his hand gliding up my thigh under my skirt. He was met with no resistance. "Bella," he growled, his head hitting my shoulder.
"Alice," I answered his unasked question. I reached frantically between us, flicking open the button of his jeans. "Now, baby," I sighed, wantonly licking my lips as I freed him from the denim. Swiftly he shifted me over him, sliding me down over his steel hard shaft.
He pressed his forehead to mine, a slight smile on his face as he watched my face freeze while he entered me with a slowness. I shook with need, practically coming as he finally buried himself to the hilt. His hands were on my hips, but I reached for one, slipping it under my shirt, encouraging him to palm me, feel me. I needed everything he could give me in the short moment we were stealing the back alley of Olympia.
I felt brick dust hit my shoulder as his other hand slammed back into the wall. My Edward was trying his best not to lose control in public. He could have torn down the whole city for all I cared. He gripped my breast hard, tweaking the nipple until I gasped out his name against his lips. My head fell back as he took me against that wall.
It was the relief I needed after the never ending stress of the past few weeks. It was our love and our fear of losing that love. And it was a solemn promise that we would do everything we could to protect each other.
We cried out together, struggling to remain quiet but failing miserably. My legs pulled him in as my orgasm took over, Edward falling over the edge with me. We were unnecessarily breathless, but we couldn't help it. With my hand still in his hair, I tugged his face to mine, kissing him slowly, reverently. I broke away, dragging my lips down his jaw. "It was beautiful, Edward," I sighed.
"You're beautiful," he smirked, pulling back to look at me. I snorted at his cheesiness, but I loved him anyway.
"Did someone really propose to you?" I giggled.
"Yes, ma'am," he sighed, rolling his eyes. "I'm quite sure I explained that I was already taken."
"You did," I nodded, kissing his nose. "She was ever so disappointed."
"She was drunk, love," he chuckled.
"And you're hot on stage," I teased, giggling when he shook his head at me. "I love being the number one fan...with benefits," I laughed as he snorted and kissed my neck loudly.
"We should go," he whispered, tilting his head at me and looking up at me through his long eyelashes. "They've packed the cars, baby," he sighed. I nodded, groaning as he set me down. He righted his clothes and I turned to look at the wall behind us.
"Wow," I chuckled, tracing a finger over his hand prints. "That's just," I shook my head, "really sexy," I laughed, my brow wrinkling. "Too bad you can sign that fantastic piece of art."
"I can," he grinned. Looking around the alley, he found a large nail, etching our initials and the date into the brick beautifully – almost as if it had been cast that way. I laughed the whole time he did it. He turned to me and smirked sexily. "Now, we can come back years from now and hopefully it will still be here," he chuckled, looking up at his work and back to me. I laughed, shaking my head at him. "Let's go, my sweet angel," he sighed, looking at the wall one more time.
I had to explain Bella's quiet and solitary behavior to everyone over the next few weeks. Despite the fact that she would sit in our room at the Fork's house alone, reading and listening to music, she was not upset. Her mind was open, calm, but she was trying to find courage and solace. I would almost liken it to meditation.
At first they begged, pleaded with her, but she declined them. Her mind would run through scenarios and training. All she wanted was to get the whole thing over with. There was a part of her that was struggling with a fight or flight instinct.
Unfortunately, no matter what she said to them, her shield pulled them in anyway. Esme would find her in our window just reading one of my journals or answering emails, only to sit down with her and read a magazine, not saying a word. Alice would drift in, bringing her fashion drawings and the girls would sit quietly.
Carlisle called it resignation. Bella had come to terms with what was heading our way and she was just trying to brace herself for it. What I didn't tell them or even confront my wife on, was her absolute and utter fear of losing someone that she loved – especially me. The thought sat in the back of her mind, every once in a while floating to the forefront, but she would push it away. When she couldn't control it, she would have to touch me, confirm I was there.
As weeks progressed, Jasper suggested that we start hunting more, even going as far as to encourage carnivores for extra strength. He wanted us to be as strong as we could possibly be for the fight with Felix. It was Emmett that took Bella on these hunting trips. His ease and humor brought her slowly out of the anxiety she was feeling. He would even go as far as to pick on her until she relented into a wrestling match. Hunting helped my love, giving her a brighter outlook, a clearer head, eventually bringing her out of our room a little more often.
Rose begged me to pull her out of it, but as long as my wife's mind was clear and calm, I didn't want to push her into something she didn't want. Maybe it was spoiling her, maybe she did need to interact with the family, but I would rather have her calm and quiet than frantic and scared.
We were home alone, Bella reading with her head on my stomach, when she finally said something about it. "They're mad at me, aren't they?" She asked, putting her book down, but looking out the window as the sun rose to a misty Forks morning.
"Not at all, sweetheart," I said, placing my hand on her head. "Why would you think so?"
"Because the boys want to play. I don't feel like it," she frowned, an almost child-like pout on her face. "I don't want to shop, either," she huffed.
"No one said you had to do any of those things," I told her, rubbing my hand on her head, almost petting her.
"I'm really scared, Edward," she whispered, finally taking her gaze from the window and rolling on her side to look at me.
"I can't lie, baby. I am too," I frowned. "Spring is here and I'm dreading when Alice says the word."
She nodded in agreement. "I want to be brave. I want to be ready for it, like Emmett, but I can't seem to get there. I've tried," she growled.
"I know, I've listened to you," I smiled, trying to prove to her that I was always watching out for her.
"I know," she smiled slightly. She picked up the remote to the stereo and shut it off. She crawled up on top of me, laying her head on my chest. "Hum my lullaby, Edward, please?"
I kissed the top of her head, rubbing her back as I began her lullaby. In her mind, the sound surrounded her. It vibrated up from my chest and it brushed her ear as my breath left me. I could feel every muscle relax, every breath deepen. If I didn't know better, I would have thought she fell asleep like she used to when she was human and I would hum for her.
She emptied her mind of everything, focusing in on the song and my breathing. She picked up my hand, slowly turning my ring and occasionally linking our fingers together. With a deep shuddering breath and after almost an hour of just listening to me, she lifted her head and rested her chin on her hands. Her smile was sweet when she said, "Thank you."
"Did it help?" I smiled, tilting my head at her.
"Yes," she nodded, sighing deeply.
"No one has the right way to prepare for these things," I sighed, looking at the ceiling and back to her. "In fact, before you came along, I would be just like you. I think that's why I haven't bothered you the last few days. I would get quiet and contemplative."
"Yeah?" She asked, her face brightening a little. She thought she was alone, feeling the way she was.
"Yes," I nodded. "Emmett can't be still. He's always ready. Jasper is calculating when preparing, but I think that's years of military training. Carlisle has been just as quiet as you. In fact, he told us to leave you, let you deal with it. He was kind enough to remind me how I used to be," I chuckled. "The girls just miss you, there's no stopping that," I smiled, tucking her hair back behind her ear.
It was then that every phone went off in the house: mine, Carlisle's, Esme's and Bella's.
"Shit," Bella and I breathed. We both picked up our phones, seeing the text was from Alice.
A: It's time. Felix will dock today. We'll meet you at the clearing. Call the wolves.
"Damn," I heard Carlisle from the opposite side of the house. I could hear him calling Marcus.
Bella shot up off the bed, dialing Jacob. "Let me guess, Bells," he answered.
"Yeah," she sighed, "let's go. We'll meet you there."
"Ok," he growled, yelling instructions to people in the background. "We'll be there."
"Hey," Demitri sighed, shaking my hand. "Marcus is down there," he pointed to the clearing, "he just got finished setting up his trail. I can already feel Felix's mind pulling me." He growled, shaking his head as if to clear it.
"I can't," I shook my head. "Not yet, anyway."
"Where's Bella?"
"With Carlisle," I smiled. "He wanted to show her the clearing from down there before he brought her up here. Not to mention she'll be bringing Brandon up here with us."
A rough, woodsy canine smell met both of our noses. Demitri chuckled, "Boy, you can tell when the pack arrives, huh?"
"Yeah," I laughed, turning when Seth wandered up in human form.
"Ed!" He smiled, nodding to Demitri, "Jake's running a perimeter patrol right now. I wanted to talk to Bells before I changed."
"She's heading up now, Seth," I pointed. I frowned at her worried mind, her teeth practically gnawing on her bottom lip. Seth scooped her up in his usual big brother fashion, making her laugh. It was a sweet sound, something I wanted to hold onto until this mess was over.
"Ok," Seth smirked, holding Bella by the shoulders. "Charlie sent me with a message to you. He said to tell you that he's safe, the rez is safe and all humans seem to be obeying the curfew. He also wanted to wish everyone luck and that he has faith in you all. He also said to tell you he loved you," he whispered the last line, tugging her ponytail.
"Thanks, Seth," she smiled.
He turned to me, "He also wanted to let you know," he sighed, "that he was going to be in contact through Vern. He'll switch back and forth between forms to keep Charlie posted. If you have messages, just send them through one of us."
"Excellent," I nodded and turned to Bella, "Love, where's Brandon?"
"On his way," she said, her gaze drifting out over the clearing. "Alice just called them. They should be here within minutes."
It wasn't long before everyone's mind was focused, coming in clear. The pack mind was registering different scents other than the ones they were used to. I opened my mind to them all. I could hear the Denalis join my family down below, Catherine and Brandon giving each other encouragement before he left her with Carlisle, and I could hear – just barely – the new minds coming in from the west.
I looked to Seth, "They're here," I sighed. He had already changed into his wolf form and as usual, stood at Bella's side. He was her step-brother and just like the rest of us, would die to protect her. "They're a few miles out, but they've caught Marcus' scent."
Seth snorted, his body quivering as he passed on the information to Jake and the pack. He shifted on his feet, his mind was one with the pack. It was an odd combination to hear his thoughts as well as the pack's one mind together.
Edward, have Bells shield just me for a moment, Alice's mind hit me. I passed on the message and Bella removed the area size shield, only to wrap it around our sister and me. Ok, she thought, we're looking at about eleven minutes until they get here. I see all thirty five survived the journey, not to mention the leaders. Once Alice's vision was relayed, Bella shielded the entire clearing once again.
She walked to the edge of the overlook and I could hear her mind almost doing a head count. She noted where our parents and siblings were, what path the wolves were taking in their constant motion, and how much distance there was between where we expected Felix to emerge and where Carlisle stood waiting.
To the very second, Alice was correct with her timing. I shook my head as the large newborn army filed into the clearing. If Felix, who I could see walking by Jane, was surprised by the sight of us, his mind didn't register it. However, he wanted to speak to Marcus and Carlisle.
Edward, I'll need you here to speak with him, Carlisle thought to me. Take the long way around, but hurry. Bella won't like this, I'm sure of it.
I sighed, closing my eyes and bracing myself for her reaction. "Bella," I whispered, "Felix wants to talk to Carlisle. He's going to need me down there."
"No," she shook her head profusely. "You can't!"
"He'll need to know what Felix is thinking and hear it immediately, love. I'll make my way back here, I promise."
"Edward, please," she begged. Seth looked between us, nuzzling her hand and leaning into her with a strange sounding purr to try and comfort her. Brandon frowned, but set his hand on her shoulder.
"Come on, Bells," he sighed, but his mind was worried with how she would react if I actually walked away. "We'll be cool up here."
"I have to," I said, leaning in to kiss her. "If he had come in violently, I wouldn't go, but Carlisle wants to try negotiating."
"You come right back," she growled the last two words through gritted teeth. Her breathing picked up, her fists were clenched and suddenly her mind was nothing but fear.
"Love, stop," I begged, "you'll see me, look," I pointed to where Carlisle was standing. "You keep that mind open to me, got it?" I asked, cupping her face and kissing her. "I love you."
"Love you," she said, her breath hitching. "More than anything," she whispered as I turned to leave.
I held my breath until I saw Edward emerge on the far side of the clearing. He took his place beside Carlisle, running a hand through his hair. Together, he, Carlisle and Marcus walked towards Felix, Jane and, who I assumed was Alec as he was just as young looking as Jane. They met halfway between the two groups. My shield never left them. I didn't trust Jane. At all.
The conversation was animated with hand gestures and arms folded across chests. Felix laughed at one point and looked to Jane.
I smirked as her face scrunched in concentration. She must have been trying to take advantage of the situation. So much for diplomacy. I growled low, feeling her power push against my shield, joined by another push from Alec.
Edward, it's all a trick. They are pushing against my shield right now. Touch your hair if you know this. I sighed as his long fingers immediately went to his head. Good.
I turned to Seth. "They are already attacking my shield," I growled, Brandon grunting beside me.
There was a shift in Felix's line. Two vampires stepped forward. They were identical with dark hair and sharp features. It was a male and a female.
If you three don't step back, I'll pull you back myself, I growled at Edward. Just as the thought left me, two trees about three feet in diameter ripped up from the ground by the roots, hurling untouched towards my husband, Marcus and Carlisle. They backed slowly away from the spot that my shield had blocked the trees from impacting.
"How many can you take out at once?" I asked Brandon.
"Individually, probably three," he frowned, "hang on, I got the creepy twins."
The twins had picked up two boulders, but once Brandon set his sights on them, the large rocks fell to the earth in mid-air.
This whole time, the wolves had stayed to the back, hidden within the line of trees. As they stepped forward, joining the front line with my two brothers, Carlisle, Demitri and Edward, a panicked sound echoed up from Felix's army.
"Wait for it," Brandon chuckled, "one of those newborns is about to freak the fuck out. Look at them step back a little." Seth snorted into a wolfy snicker, nodding at us both.
It was a tense standoff. Felix's face registered nothing but anger. Jane and Alec's powers weren't working and the twins had been shut down. He waved someone forward, the army parting like the Red Sea for Moses as the biggest vampire I had ever seen stepped forward, a tiny woman at his side.
"Damn," I breathed. "That must be the guy that can manipulate the elements."
"Fuck," Brandon growled, "he makes Emmett look small."
"Yeah," I sighed, my brow wrinkling as the small woman touched his arm when he walked forward. "Why is she touching..." I stopped. "Renata," I gasped. "She's a shield. The last time I met another shield we negated each other." I opened my shield wider, trying to stop them before they got any closer. "Fucking hell," I gasped as she and the giant walked right through it.
Edward, move now! I growled, turning to Brandon, "Shut them down. Forget the twins, shut those two down." Brandon nodded, but snarled when Renata's shield shot him down.
The giant smiled menacingly, pulling a lighter out of his pocket. I split my own shield, focusing on who was the closest to them. All it took was one spark from the lighter and a huge flaming ball was hurling across the field. I caught it with my shield, almost feeling the heat from it myself, snuffing it out above my family's heads.
Once Felix realized the shield was open, he sent his army in. All hell broke loose on the clearing floor. I could barely register who was where. In fact, my only concern was the fire balls that were everywhere.
The wolves lunged at individuals, separating them from everyone else. My shield caught four more fireballs, extinguishing them in the air before they could reach their targets. My chest cracked wide open with pain. I scoured the clearing for Edward and I finally found him on the edge, Jane looming over him.
"Bitch," I growled, finally wrapping her up in my shield after having lost her so many months ago. With a growl and twist of my shield, she was no longer in one piece. Edward dove out of the way when I caught one of the fireballs, slamming it down on the ground where Jane's pieces were.
The giant was killing my strength. For every deed I did away from him, he had created that many more fireballs. "We've got to get that...thing," I growled to Brandon. "Seth, can the wolves touch him?"
Almost as if I had wished it, two wolves, one russet and one black, launched themselves at Renata, catching her off guard. "Nice, Jake, Sam," I nodded. They tumbled through the tall grasses with her, leaving the large vampire a little confused.
"Demitri wasn't kidding," Brandon snorted, "that dude really isn't the brightest bulb in the box, is he?" Seth chuckled and I smiled as he asked, "Shut him down?"
"No," I shook my head, catching another fireball. "Let's give Jasper's theory a shot, huh?" Just as the large vampire sparked the lighter, I wrapped my shield around him. Brandon, Seth and I both cringed at the scream that erupted from the guy. "Fuck, he was right," I winced, "he's cooking alive in there."
In fact, everyone stopped, listening to the monster scream. I couldn't take it any longer, finally twisting my shield until he snapped apart into fiery pieces.
"Sweet!" Brandon beamed, "Fuck, Bells. You've taken the biggest threats away."
"Nope," I growled, scanning the field for Edward first, finding him in a battle with a tall blonde man. He seemed to be holding his own. Felix was my next target. I scoured the entire area looking for him, wanting this madness over before something else could go wrong. He was nowhere down there.
"Well, well, well," an Italian accent sounded from our right. Brandon, Seth and I turned, finding we had company. Very dangerous company. Felix stood, grinning proudly, with Alec and another two vampires. "Just the two I've been looking for."
Quickly I slammed my shield around the three of us, sighing as I felt some kind of power bounce off of it. Seth shifted from foot to foot, getting ready to spring. I placed my hand on his large shoulder, stopping him for the moment.
Edward, we're outnumbered up here. I shook my head, crouching and tensing every muscle I had.
"Isabella Marie Swan Cullen," Felix crooned, pacing around us in a half circle. "Jane's told me so much about you."
"Well, she can't anymore," I chuckled, sneering as Alec snarled into a feral growl. "I've paid her back for her escape from me last time."
If this was news to Felix, he didn't flinch. "Oh, well," he sighed, waving her off as if she never really mattered. Alec's face flickered a moment of sorrow and anger towards his superior. "Let's see if I have my facts straight," he smiled, holding up his hand to start ticking things off. "Human daughter of Charlie and Renee...step-daughter to Phil. Born in Forks, Washington, but lived most of your life in Arizona. Hmm, Mom and the step-dad moved to Jacksonville, Florida. You are currently married to Edward Cullen." He paused, turned around and walked slowly back the other way. "You know there's a port in Jacksonville," he stopped, smiling my way. "Your mother was very pretty for her age."
"What did you do?" I snarled, stepping forward. Brandon's arms locked around my waist, bringing me to a halt.
"She thought you were dead," he chuckled, watching me struggle against Brandon. Every hair stood up on Seth's back, his growl was long, low and severe. Long, nasty tendrils of saliva dripped from his huge teeth. "But she found out the truth before we drained them both."
I snapped, whether it was the truth or not, I lost every bit of control I had. Bloodlust overtook every sensible thought. I split my shield, wrapping it around Alec, ripping him into shreds. Finally able to move, Seth and Brandon launched themselves at the two vampires that stood in the back.
"My, my," Felix smiled, realizing that we were left alone, "you are quite beautiful when you're angry. Carina was a waste of my time, maybe I'll take you back with me."
"I don't think so," I growled, my head turning when my name was called out. From the clearing, Jasper and Emmett were having an awful time against the twins. Without thinking, I split my shield, grabbing one of the twins and snapping them apart. It was the dumbest move I had ever made. I allowed my love for my family to make me forget to protect myself. Felix lunged the moment my attention turned back to him. He landed on me, both of us grunting with the force.
"Tsk, tsk, Isabella," he sneered at me. "Now let's see if you scream like your mother did when I killed her." He held me firm as I struggled in his grasp, looking for any way out. I prayed that Edward could hear my thoughts. I just hoped he made it in time.


Rondell Garcia said...

Oh man... What an intense battle thus far. Bella Killed Jane, alec, the Giant elemental, and one of the telekenetic twin. But now she is in a pinch w/ felix.

If I was looking from the outside in, and was planning on going into battle w/ bella as my protection; I would've been nervous. She seems too emotional to be dependable. But so would ANYONE going into 'war' for the first time. Still I would've been nervous.
IM glad they didn't go back to school in those weeks. They did their guardian angel thing.

Rondell Garcia said...

Had to comeback, I had to ask. Trying not to be a douche. Well not anymore than you already 'think' I am but....

I'm @Confused@...

I don't get it... Why didn't she just crush Felix?. Because here is what we 'know'. She can wrap up a groups [remember the football game], {unless one of them is a shield}. And she can crush, if she decided to 'twist' her shield. So why did she not just wrap them up and crush them???. She had the rage for it?.

Cause what?... that would've been too awesome to read???. Dont give me awesome, I don't want awesome give me easily avoidable plot twist, that creates unnecessary drama. I '<3' those!... -_-.

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